Updated: Oct 10
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition where one of the main nerves in your wrist gets compressed. This nerve is called the median nerve. This can cause pain, tingling, numbness in your hand. People also experience weakness or feel clumsy and drop things. Symptoms usually come on gradually. Tingling and numbness occur in the thumb, index finger, middle and 1/2 of ring finger BUT not in the pinkie finger. Symptoms can occur during the day as well as at night. At first symptoms may not last long, but if left untreated can worsen and occur for longer periods of time.
Compression of the median nerve can be caused by many different things. Females and those aged 45-64 years old are more likely to get CTS. CTS can occur more frequently in certain professions that involve repetitive or forceful grasping, flexed wrist postures, or exposure to vibration from hand-held tools. CTS can also occur during pregnancy due to hormones that cause you to retain fluid. It can also occur post-partum.
Physiotherapists can treat CTS and prevent the need for surgery by providing tailored exercises, education, splints and recommend ergonomic adjustments to workstations.
Page M.J., Massy-Westropp N., O'Connor D., Pitt V. (2012). Splinting for carpal tunnel syndrome (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Lewis K. J., et al. Group education, night splinting and home exercises reduce conversion to surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome: a multicentre randomised trial. Journal of Physiotherapy, 66(2), 97-104.